Is There A Registered Sex Offender In Your Neighborhood?

by Stuart Burson

A convicted sex offender has confessed to killing a thirteen year old Florida girl.   The news comes just weeks after another young girl was murdered in that same state, apparently by a different sex offender.

These two recent incidents, where sex offenders are accused of murder are raising awareness in many people's minds.

The term "registered sex offender" has made it into the news a lot recently. In Florida, a registered sex offender has confessed to killing nine year old Jessica Lunsford.

More recently, also in Florida, another sex offender admitted he murdered Sara Lunde.

Here in Texas, if a person has been ordered by the courts to register as a sex offender, they have to fill out a basic form.

"When they do fill out this form, they're given a 'blue card', this blue card has their identification on it, and essentially identifies them as a sex offender." says Lt. Greg Denman with the Lufkin Police Department.

Depending on the court order, that person must fill out the form every thirty or ninety days, or annually. If the victim of the crime is a minor, then law enforcement takes a further step.

"If the victim is under seventeen years of age, we have to make notification to the local school district of which they will reside in, we also have to notify any private school that might be in the boundaries of his residence." says Denman.

An ad is then placed in the local newspaper, showing the offender's picture and other identifying information. The cost for the ad, is paid for by the offender. The offender's information is then placed in a data base by DPS authorities.

Curious to know if a registered sex offender lives near you?  Just look it up online.

"Once a resident goes to the website and types in their zip code, then they'll get a list of all the offenders within that zip code, then they just have to manually search down the screen to find their address."

The amount of time a person must be registered as a sex offender can vary, depending on the court order for that case.

If you would like to check out the state's registered sex offender database, just log on to the website... .